Small hoteliers urged to be competitive in a changing market

Tourism Minister Ian Douglas
Tourism Minister Ian Douglas

Small hoteliers here have been told that the success of the tourism sector depends on keeping on top of the competition in an ever-changing market environment.

The advice came from Tourism Minister Ian Douglas when he addressed the start of a workshop, at the Fort Young Hotel, on “Marketing Techniques for Small Hotels”, which is expected to run for five days over a three-week period.

He said that the emphasis must be on “increasing the quality and quantity of our products as well as taking new marketing initiatives to ensure that we remain relevant in an ever expanding and diverse competitive market.”

The Tourism Minister noted that the small hoteliers are the owners of the Dominican experience: “When someone travels, they usually anchor in their place of stay.” This means, he said, that the small hoteliers become the people to whom the visitor will turn to for advice. “What you say to them, the people you put them in touch with will determine the quality of their experience. In certain cases, it will determine whether they come back to Dominica and to your property.”

Participants at the workshop
Participants at the workshop

Douglas urged the hoteliers to ensure that providing a quality service – and not money – is their primary motive. “You can’t think that because bills are due and you may not have other guests for the week that all of a sudden the price for your product and service goes up. That is short-term thinking, and will only come back to haunt you.”

The main facilitator of the workshop, Nikima Royer-Jno Baptiste, said that there was a need to improve the quality and quantity of Dominica’s products. Through the workshops,” she said,  “we will provide you with the tools and the necessary skills for you to be able to take a closer look at your properties and determine what needs to be done and how to do it.”

The workshop will cover areas such as marketing, brand recognition and awareness, attracting the right players and targeting segmentation.

The workshop is organized by the Dominica Agricultural Industrial and Development Bank (AID Bank) in collaboration with Caribbean Technology and Consultancy Services (CTCS).

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  1. angel
    January 20, 2014

    Right now, the biggest problem facing tourism in Dominica is LIAT. Their gross inefficiency and outrageous fares are enough to prevent anyone but the most determined traveler from coming here. LIAT is a curse on the Caribbean.

  2. Really
    January 20, 2014

    Stop listening to negative nonsense,check out the guest reviews on websites of other hotels.

  3. Plan Dominque
    January 18, 2014

    We need to continue the focus on stakeholders in the private sector but the main problem facing the tourism industry here is the lack of positive ACTION in the areas of public sector responsibilities. Just lots of talk but no creative action.
    Take for example the numerous calls for review of VAT placed on the industry, not one step to positively respond. Yet this same government can on the stroke of a pen and in response to an initiative by the opposition re job creation could find eight million dollars to expand the public service primarily outside the existing establishment. CNAHGE IS A MST.

    January 18, 2014

    Why is the small hoteliers workshop, beinging held at the fort young hotel. The bigest hotel in DA. Couldn’t they(ian) had the worksop at a small hotel :-D

    • layman's terms
      January 22, 2014

      maybe because fort young has the proper facility to accommodate everyone without disrupting daily operations, is in a central location, and might serve as an example of a successful accommodation. Maybe ..who knows.

  5. layman's terms
    January 17, 2014

    a lot of aspiring and number of existing hoteliers and accommodation business people need to improve on their products. too much ugly concrete buildings. why do you think jungle, secret, pagua and rosalie bay have all gotten international notoriety? CLASS not social class, but excellent taste. building design doesnt have to be elaborate. Less is more in this case. simplicity will attract, but it has to be done tastefully. Your landscaping can work wonders if it is done properly. your interior decorating can be simple and coordinated functional and TASTEFUL. Let foreigners and locals feel like they have received more than their money’s worth. Thats how you get return clients.

  6. Ben Haynes PsyD
    January 17, 2014

    Something is missing here. The more l visit here the more l have to scratch my head. Yes, l know l am in a developing country, and l don’t expect the best hotels in the world, and yes, l support every effort in its growth. But you know what, being treated like a customer, the ways the owners would like to be treated anywhere are qualities that should be given for the money they are asking. I believe that training for all in the hotel industry, and caring for safety at all levels must be paramount. Yes, Dominica is a great destination, but if this country wants to attract the tourist dollar, it must spend, support, and value all that venture in its tracks.

  7. Rastafari
    January 17, 2014

    Ian Douglas is a very re-active person. He seems to have no sense of purpose, direction or accountability. He is like a puppet who, when commissioned, re-acts. We would love to see some pro-activeness from Ian Douglas, instead of just “winging” it! You can’t expect a tourist industry to succeed when the minister responsible for its success, randomly spits out verbiage that does not help change or remedy the issues that prevent the industry from being successful. So sad to see tax $ go wasted.

  8. Just a Suggestion
    January 17, 2014

    I was in a hotel a few months ago waiting for my bill after a meal. We were not in any hurry when a waitress came up to us and said “sorry for the delay the cashier has gone to the toilet and wont be long”. The young lady was very pleasant and said it with a smile but was totally oblivious to the fact that it was innapropriate and much too much info. She could have just said ‘sorry for the delay the Cashier will be with you shortly’. Instead of thinking of the great meal we had just eaten, we were left with a mental picture of the Cashiere sitting on the toilet and wondering if he/she washed their hands when they finished!! What is the point of discussing branding, budgets and targetting people to come to Dominica when we can’t get the basics right – good customer service/experience, communication skills – a lot of staff just dont know how to have a conversation with guests. You speak to the Receptionist of a Hotel and that’s fine but ask another member of staff advice on anything, they are totally out of their comfort zone, all you get is no eye contact a lot of mumbling and the usual ‘I dont know’. Success is always in the small details, get that right all will follow.

  9. January 17, 2014

    Sorry to say but cost is a factor. The hotel industry – small or large, are geared for couples, not families. Try finding lodging with even 2 bedrooms less than $150 a night. The lodging choices needs to diversify and cater to other than the couples travel. Trust me, I’m bringing my wife and 3 kids there this summer and finding any place with even 2 bedrooms was practically impossible.

    • Malgraysa
      January 18, 2014

      Rent an apartment or small villa instead.

      • Anonymous
        January 19, 2014

        Yes and the cost once again will be exorbitant. Value for money and the tourist will return.

  10. January 16, 2014

    access very inefficient, potholes all over, beach no facilities, paro eveywhere, what kind of experience these visitors have. Mr. Minister put yr house in order.

    • layman's terms
      January 22, 2014

      Yah…Paro EVERYWHERE! In other countries you hardly ever see them ever.

  11. pedro
    January 16, 2014

    Clean up and beautify the country to give visitors a better experience and lasting memory.

  12. SLB16
    January 16, 2014

    As a frequent visitor to Dominica the main issue is not with the quality of the hotels, or the staff, it is the horrendous journey. LIAT is the worst airline ever! If my parents did not live on the Island I would not travel there. It is good to see that the hotels are trying to improve their service, however the number of tourists will decline until flights to DCA are resolved.

    • Anonymous
      January 19, 2014

      Look the trip is not that bad , arlines wont fly to Dom because its simply not profitable . The islsnd needs to up its game, clean up the street s make it more attractive to tourist and most I important stop ripping them off and give them value for there money

  13. dafriend
    January 16, 2014

    Ian, and what exactly do you know about running a small hotel? All you do is pointing out the obvious. Are you trying to justify your wages? All of a sudden we hear quite of lot of you even though it’s mainly nonsense. It appears elections are around the corner.

  14. Evolved
    January 16, 2014

    Ian Douglas should be ashamed to stand up and speak such garbage to an industry that is already dead. Just take a look at the banner behind him. Dominica is an English speaking country – yet his promotional banner is in French.

    Dominica is seems must hit rock bottom before it wakes up. No other hotel in Dominica at the moment is receiving notable international press except secret bay – arrivals are down, hotels were affected by the recent floods, VAT way too high, employee morale is at an all time low, hospitality is pretty much non existent in Dominica.

    You cannot market a product that is not ready. No marketing plan can promote a product that is substandard and succeed.

    SMH – Poor Dominica.

    • Rastafari
      January 17, 2014

      Dominica is a “Broken” English speaking country – just like its Caricom counterparts. If you don’t believe me…95% of the posts on this forum proves that. We would be better off using Patois!

  15. Malgraysa
    January 16, 2014

    Isn’t that the same lady who was in charge of the Arial Tram when it closed down? Maybe she can tell the hotel owners her experience and how to improve their tourism product to escape the same fate. That would be good.

    • Just a Suggestion
      January 17, 2014

      I agree. Perhaps she did not listen to her own advice.

    • Say Sar
      January 19, 2014

      These people just need a little time off. Listening to something they already know about. Talk my lady talk.

  16. Dominica_Lover
    January 16, 2014

    very good words. I like that

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